"Written by Cork people, for Cork people"
The Holly Bough has been an annual tradition in Cork since 1897.
In that time, it has become a staple of the Christmas season in city and county, and among the diaspora around the world.
It has appeared in all 124 years since it began, apart from a few years during the world wars, and in 1948, when there was a paper shortage. The oldest copy in Cork City Library is from 1924.
The Holly Bough contains a plethora of historical stories and photographs about Cork and its people, as well as festive articles, a food & drink section, a junior section including puzzles, fictional short stories and poems by local people, and a sports section.
The magazine is now larger than it has ever been in its history – 164 pages.
Editors down the years have included Stephen Coughlan and Walter McGrath, and the current editor, John Dolan, has been at the helm since 2002.
He attributes its continued success to hard work by generations of people, from writers to in-house journalists, editors and photographers, from printers to distributors, advertisers to contributors. The latter are the backbone of the Holly Bough. “The Holly Bough is written by Cork people, for Cork people” he says.
Reagan O’Sullivan, 7, at home in Los Angeles, California, USA. Her dad Willie is from Mayfield, Cork
Hiking around the Milford Track on New Zealand's South Island last Christmas, from left, Monica Yee, of Christchurch, New Zealand, Sam Cadogan, of Inniscarra, Fionnuala Murphy, of Ballincollig, Patrick O’Kelly-Lynch, of Frankfield, Cork, Lorcan O’Hara, of Thurles, Tipperary, and Megan Eastes, of Kent, England
Con Keogh, 87, who was born and raised on De Valera Street in Youghal, at home in Whitman in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA, with his granddaughter Evelyn Keogh and Torr the dog ahead of this year’s All-Ireland hurling final
Paul O’Leary, of Ballyvolane, Ciara Colgan, of Parklands, Laura Bridgeman, of Fairhill, and Ian Ricken, of Farranree, on Scarborough Beach, Pert, Australia
The Hedderman and Caplice families on top of Carauntoohil, Co, Kerry, in July
Stuart Manning, formally of Ballyvolane, now living in Woodstock, Virginia, with wife Michelle and daughter Eve, at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
Helen Mehegan, whose father, Leo, is originally from Nicholas Street, Cork, on her wedding day in Limburg, Germany, with her dad and Anouk, Ray and Kevin Mehegan, and new husband Jan Hilpisch
Aria Healy, of Ballyvolane, enjoying her first Christmas with the Holly Bough
Colm McCarthy, originally of Rathcormac, with the Holly Bough in Hampshire, England, where he lives
Julie McSweeney, Barry Lovern and Alison Grove, of Millstreet, on top of Erta Ale, an active volcano in north-eastern Ethiopia
Luke Maloney, of Commons Road, Marc Lenihan, of Passage West, and Martin Kelly, of Cobh, serving with 117th Inf Battalion UNIFIL in South Lebanon this year
Cousins Karen Power, of Fairhill, and Paula Falvey McKellar, of Easons Hill, who met up this year at Niagara Falls with their Canadian partners Kelly and Dave
If you have a story to submit to the Holly Bough, or a photo for the Holly Bough Picture Gallery, you can do it here
Printing the Holly Bough at the Cork Examiner in December 1949 ©The Echo Archive.
Thousand readers wordwide
Years the Holly Bough is a Cork tradition
Pages bursting with photos and stories
Christmas publication in Cork
Now you can access past editions of Holly Bough online
A treasure trove of Cork history lies within the pages of every Holly Bough - and now you can access past editions of Cork’s favourite Christmas publication at the touch of a button.
This year, the publication was digitised and is available to view online on the Irish Newspaper Archives (INA) website - www.irishnewspaperarchives.com Ireland’s largest digital newspaper archive, the website stores hundreds of thousands of pages of past newspapers, including the Echo and Examiner, and provides easy access to more than 300 years of history.
Holly Boughs dating back to 1924 up to the present day can now be viewed online.
Jonathan Martin, of the INA, said: “We are delighted to have the Holly Bough Christmas magazine on board our website. The Holly Bough has been a wonderful Christmas tradition in Cork city and county since 1897.
“The INA believes this title offers a great snap-shot of times gone past, illustrated beautifully in the photos and articles that capture Ireland at its traditionally happiest time of year.
“We hope that you enjoy reading the archive as much as we did digitising them.
“If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org”
The 2021 Holly Bough is out now!
It’s been a year like no other, but, like an old and trusted friend, the Holly Bough will always be there for you, through good times and bad. We have another jam-packed edition lined up for your festive reading this year — full of brilliant and fascinating stories and photographs depicting Cork in times past, many with a festive flavour: prepare to be gripped, moved, surprised, and entertained!
Of course, we have all the favourites you have come to love — the Diffney Quiz, the food and drink section, the Photo Gallery, the prize crossword, and so much more besides!
Among the stories this year, we remember the time opera legend Luciano Pavarotti played Cork City Hall,
recall how a Cork woman gave a manicure to Princess Grace of Monaco, tell the story of the white-out winter that devastated the country 75 years ago, and reveal the real-life saga of Cork's own castaway Robinson Crusoe. And did you know a Corkman was the inspiration for one of TV's funniest scenes? Plus there are fitting tributes to Cork opera star Cara O'Sullivan and legendary ladies' football manager Eamonn Ryan.
This year, we also commemorate the centenary events of 1921 and 1922 in Cork, including the assassination of Michael Collins and the day the Union Jack was hauled down in Collins Barracks, while our sports section includes tributes to our golden rowing stars.